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There’s the scrutiny

Last July, frustrated that our friends in the legacy media shunned scrutinizing the record of President Obama, I created the category, “Where’s the Scrutiny?”  The Democrat has become accustomed to a press which downplays news which threatens the image he has crafted and refrains from asking him particularly tough questions.

The president, Michael Barone observed, “suffered” last night

 . . . from his lack of scrutiny from mainstream media. As I like to say, there is nothing free in politics, but there is some question about when you pay the price. In this first debate Obama paid the price for the hands-off treatment he has received from mainstream media. His talking points, advanced by his spokesmen in the confidence that they will not be seriously challenged, were refuted by an energized and articulated and well-informed Mitt Romney. He stood there petulantly and pathetically, nonplussed by the fact that his flimsy talking points were effectively challenged.

And Romney was unfazed about doing the work the legacy media never does, exposing the president, as Michael Walsh put it

. . .as the Primo Carnera of his day, the mob-owned heavyweight champ who won a series of fixed fights — until he finally found himself in the ring against an opponent who didn’t fear him, and who was more than happy to whale on him, especially once Romney figured out that Obama couldn’t hurt him. Meanwhile, Obama kept looking over at Mitt with a “I can’t believe you know all this stuff” look on his face, while periodically casting beseeching glances at moderator Jim Lehrer, hoping to be saved by a bell that never came.

Mitt Romney, as per this tweet included in William A. Jacobson’s roundup, finally provided, in a national forum, the scrutiny long absent in coverage of this president:

Erick Erickson believes that “the explanation for Obama’s performance is pretty simple. Gods in the cult of personality do not like to come off Olympus to be challenged by mere mortals.

No wonder he was shocked, as the National Review’s John J. Pitney, Jr. put it “to confront someone who talks back on equal terms.

What we learned (yet again, for conservatives who follow politics) last night was not just that Obama is the metaphorical naked emperor, but also that the legacy media had long been promoting his magnificent, but non-existent, wardrobe.  Last night, Victor Davis Hanson wrote that it now

becomes clear just how the media for the last six years have enfeebled their favorite. And unlike 2008, there is now an Obama record to defend, rather than just repeating hope-and-change platitudes and vague generalities that have worked in the past.

And likely will not work very well in the future.

RELATED:  Ed Driscoll links James Taranto:

HONEY, I SHRUNK THE PRESIDENT: James Taranto, in today’s Best of the Web column writes, “Journalists and pundits turn on Obama for failing to make their fairy tales come true,” and notes that one reason why last night’s debate “came as such a shock to Obama” — and by extension, Obama’s Palace Guard MSM — “is that it was the first time in his career that he shared a debate stage with a serious opponent:”



  1. It’s one of the reasons I’m sure the R’s are going to win this one big. The MSM forgot the most important rule “Overconfidence can be deadly”. We saw that rule at work in this debate.

    Comment by Catseye — October 4, 2012 @ 8:53 pm - October 4, 2012

  2. Over confidence is not what ails Obama. He is quite accustomed to being carried. Lehrer tried to carry him, but Romney walked over the mulligans and forced the truth to prevail.

    I doubt that Romney played his “A” game in terms of defense. We saw Romney on offense and he was magnificent. But there is more to blocking the friendly Obama-friendly media. I am certain Romney is fully able to block the media and Obama with class and style.

    Obama brought his “A” game. His next round is apt to be even worse for him. He will play to his base and go red meat and whip up the likes of Chris Matthews and the Obamaphone crowd, but he will turn off the voters he needs to win. His approval ratings won’t carry him and when he forgets he needs to convince people that he is worthy of the job, he will take a bath.

    You can’t fake competence with slogans and styrofoam columns forever. Obama has a great deal to prove. He has to prove that we are on the correct course to economic recovery. He has to prove that his titanic additions to the national deficit will be reversed and was necessary to save us. He will have to prove that the way to prosperity is by taxing the rich and by expanding entitlements. He will have to convince the country that he believes the America he inherited is not on the downslide.

    Pretty simple, huh?

    Comment by heliotrope — October 4, 2012 @ 10:08 pm - October 4, 2012

  3. It’s amazing how Lehrer did carry Obama – allowing him to talk 12% longer than Romney overall, and actual prompting Obama with his talking points, at one juncture – and yet the lefty media wants to claim Lehrer did a bad job.

    Anything to avoid blaming the Dear FailurePrompter, I guess! And to let future debate moderators know that they had better work even harder than Lehrer did, to carry Obama.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — October 5, 2012 @ 12:10 am - October 5, 2012

  4. Interesting to read about Team O’s re-strategizing:

    The old strategy was to paint Romney as a woman-hating conservative extremist. The new strategy, it seems, will be to paint Romney as a mushy, lying flip-flopper (or is that a mushy, flip-flopping liar?). So risky!

    – First, as we saw last night, the “A game” Romney can handle himself against that.
    – Second, it throws away any chance of explaining Obama’s vision for a second term… (ILC waits for the guffaws to subside)… and giving voters positive reasons to vote for Him.
    – Third, it risks destroying Obama’s last remaining edge, on “likeability”.
    – Fourth, it gives Romney scads of free publicity. It continually changes the subject to Romney, making Romney the important factor in the campaign.
    – Fifth: It will underline, however negatively, Romney’s centrist positions.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — October 5, 2012 @ 12:18 am - October 5, 2012

  5. I concur with the comments above. The second debate will show Obama’s true face; arrogant and unpleasant. If we’re lucky we will hear more comments regarding income redistribution and class warfare. The image that we have all seen in the recent 2007 video shown on Fox will resurface.

    Comment by Ad Noctum — October 5, 2012 @ 2:41 am - October 5, 2012

  6. Heliotrope-I think you are right that Obama isn’t so much overconfident as he is used to being carried and still given all the glory. Obama in the last 4 years has never had to face anyone who made him defend anything-and in the debate he couldn’t do it and he seemed shocked that he couldn’t.

    Lehrer IMO most certainly tried throwing him a few life lines and did what he could, but Obama can’t play hope and change when he has a 4 year record and frankly while I think some voters will give him some slack-blaming Bush for everything isn’t going to fly. Romney needs to beat him with the “You’ve had 4 years, so why . . .” sledgehammer often.

    Comment by Just Me — October 5, 2012 @ 7:05 am - October 5, 2012

  7. Jon Stewart made a comment this morning that supports Dan’s hypothesis: “You know, I used to think the pauses, he was just trying to think of smaller words for the little brains to figure out what he was saying. This time, I really think the pauses were just, ‘I like food.’…’My children are nice.’

    Liberals projected all of their aspirations onto Obama: He was the Nebulous Negro of Hollywood films who would lead America into an era of green energy and unicorns, and as all Americans embraced his wonderfulness, he would heal our racial divides … and bring about world peace.

    e.g. Andrew Sullivan, in 2008: “A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees that this man—Barack Hussein Obama—is the new face of America. In one simple image, America’s soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm. A brown-skinned man whose father was an African, who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, who attended a majority-Muslim school as a boy, is now the alleged enemy. If you wanted the crudest but most effective weapon against the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology, Obama’s face gets close. It proves them wrong about what America is in ways no words can.”

    Even as the Middle East burns because of BO’s botched foreign policy, Sully is penning an article for the thin little leftist pamphlet called ‘Newsweek’ praising Obama as ‘The Democrats Reagan.’ His boyfriend is still awesome.

    Comment by V the K — October 5, 2012 @ 11:12 am - October 5, 2012

  8. “You know, I used to think the pauses, he was just trying to think of smaller words for the little brains to figure out what he was saying.”

    Oh, good lord. Any truly perspicacious individual should be able to think of more than two synonyms for any given word almost instantly.

    Comment by Rattlesnake — October 5, 2012 @ 6:39 pm - October 5, 2012

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